NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There is no light at the end of the tunnel for Long Island Rail Road commuters — at least until Friday at the earliest.
LIRR customers will have to put up with the delays and cancellations for at least another two days. Service should return to normal by the Friday morning rush, according to Amtrak.
Amtrak was still working to repair a 1,400-foot section of damaged track inside an East River tunnel, where an empty five-car Amtrak train, moving at 60 miles per hour, derailed Sunday afternoon.
Earlier Tuesday, officials said they hoped to restore regular service by Thursday. There is still a possibility disrupted service could continue through the weekend.
For a detailed list of service changes, click here.
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“The work is progressing inside the tunnel where there was damage because of the Amtrak derailment on Sunday. Amtrak is doing that repair work. There are roughly 275 wooded railroad ties that have to be replaced,” LIRR spokesperson Joe Calderone said.
The cancellations and disruptions have taken their toll on weary commuters.
“We all rely on this. I live on Long Island. There’s no other way to get in,” one woman said.
“Who isn’t fed up with it? But what are you going to do?” another commuter said.
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Crews were working under difficult conditions to transport equipment into the narrow, 23-foot-wide tunnel.
“So they’ve had to re-rail these cars, get them out of the way. And then they need to do the repairs. And they have to get the materials to the site. It’s very labor intensive,” Calderon said
Calderone said workers were putting in 12-hour shifts to try to make the repairs.
“Once that’s all complete, then everything has to be tested — all the safety systems inside the tunnel have to be tested to make sure that everything is ready to use again,” he said.
Amtrak’s troubles have been crippling LIRR service to Penn Station. Tuesday morning, there were 12 cancellations, along with five trains bound for Penn Station having their route terminate at Jamaica Station. Four other Penn-Station bound trains were diverted to Brooklyn, and one more was re-routed to Hunters Point.
The MTA was cross-honoring tickets for access to subway trains into the city.
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